"For I am about to do a brand new thing. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness for my people to come home. I will create rivers in the desert!" (NLT)
I have the 43rd chapter of Isaiah marked in my Bible with the date of 01-30-01 beside it. I'll never forget the night that the Lord took me to this chapter. I was a very fearful and anxious person. My husband was gone on a short business trip and I was so gripped with fear that he would not return that I couldn't sleep. I remember sitting up in bed, grabbing my Bible and telling God that I didn't want to be afraid anymore. Then I heard him tell me to go to Isaiah 43. I don't ever remember hearing the Holy Spirit talk so directly to me like that before, but I knew it was him as soon as I began reading the first verse, "Do not be afraid for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name, you are mine." "WOW!" I remember thinking. I fell quickly to sleep that night knowing that my husband would be o'k and I had no reason to fear anything.
Many times since then the Lord has used chapter 43 to comfort my anxious heart. Verse 19 was one of those verses that he used to remind me that he was working on me and starting am new thing in me. He has taken my family through very difficult times and this verse has been a great reminder that he is at work. In the midst of a spiritual desert, he is creating streams of water to nourish and refresh his people.
But he asks in the verse, "Do you not see it?" I know that sometimes I am so consumed by the trials that I cannot see the new work that he is starting. I do not recognize the rivers in the desert because I am too focused on the wilderness.
We are beginning a new year. Is God beginning a new thing in you? He has already begun, but can you see it? No matter how difficult your circumstances may seem, God is at work! Do you believe that? Even when the rent is past due or the medical bills are piled high, God is at work...do you see it? Even when your husband walks out leaving you with the children & the mortgage, God is at work...do you see it? Even when you lose a child and you can't bear to even get out of bed, God is at work...do you see it?
Look for the rivers in your desert that are meant to nourish you. Look for the pathways through the wilderness. Do not ask him to take you out of the wilderness; you are there to draw closer to him. Rather, use the wilderness to grow you in your knowledge and understanding of God.
In verses 20 & 21, Isaiah writes,
"Yes, I will make springs in the desert, so that my chosen people can be refreshed. I have made Israel for myself, and they will someday honor me before the whole world."
I know that my God's love for me is so great that I cannot even begin to comprehend it. I know that he will not take me into a desert and not replenish or refresh me. He has promised me this. I also know that he wants me honor him in the midst of my wilderness. This is not easy, but he never asks us to do anything that he knows we cannot do.
What is God doing in your life right now? What are you learning about him that is new? Do you see the paths through the wilderness that he is making for you and are you being refreshed by the springs in the desert that he has provided for you? I do not ask any of this without knowing my own answers to these questions. My family is living in our own desert right now and learning to walk in his pathways and bring honor to him while in our desert has become a daily lesson for us; a lesson well worth learning. Our lives are a brand new thing and that is very exciting!
I pray that you are blessed by the rivers in your desert this brand new year!
(A river in the Mohave Desert)